SEO copywriters can be placed into three broad categories:

  1. Those who write for users.
  2. Those who write for search engines.
  3. Those who try to blend the two.

Copywriters who actually succeed in the third category are like blue diamonds: rare and extremely valuable.
Search engines don’t care about grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. They don’t care for eloquence. Instead, they care about keywords. Search engines are crows and keywords are bright, shiny objects that gleam amid reams of text. Search engines zero in on the keywords and proudly display them in search results. That’s why keyword research and matching keywords to specific website pages is so important. It’s why some copywriters are reluctant to stray too far away from keywords; some will even use the weird combinations that keyword tools provide – e.g. “recipe lasagnarome” – instead of boldly splitting them up into a coherent sentence.
Unfortunately for these writers, people don’t care about keywords, but they do care about grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Some people care more than others, but one thing all web users look for in websites is readability. Badly written content is an immediate turnoff. Content stuffed with keywords that trip up the flow and logic of the message will result in immediate and severe penalties, i.e. no one will subscribe, no one will request a quote, no one will buy now. But they will exit – in droves.
The relationship between keywords and good content is mutually symbiotic, which is a fancy way of saying one needs the other. The symbiosis is not even, however. They both need each other but keywords need good content more than good content needs keywords.

Methods and madness

When it comes to keyword insertion, writers often find that certain keywords, usually primary keywords, fit naturally into the copy. They don’t have to work too hard to mention “luxury accommodation” two or three times on a travel page. They have to work a bit harder for terms like “luxury accommodation tents”.
Some writers prefer working with keywords from the get-go. They insert the phrases as they write, arguing that this maintains the integrity of the piece.
Other writers prefer writing the copy naturally and then inserting keywords. They argue that this ensures optimum readability.
Still other writers use a blended system. They write naturally and see what keywords fall into place: primary and longtail. Then they go back and tweak the copy to fit in more phrases, keeping an eye on the structure and flow of sentences and paragraphs.
Writers should go with what makes them the most comfortable and companies that offer SEO services should not force them to follow a prescribed process that goes against the grain. They’re blue diamonds, remember.
About the author: Sandy writes for a number of blogs on a variety of topics, including SEO services in Cape Town, advertising, business, travel, education and climate change.